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New Hope for Parkinson's Patients

Experimental drug, patch for current drug both control symptoms better, studies show

TUESDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- A new medication and an improved delivery system for an older drug appear to hold promise for taming the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

In the first study, patients taking the drug SLV308 showed significant reductions in typical Parkinson's symptoms, such as tremors and slowness of movement. The results also indicate that SLV308 alone may help patients in the early stages of Parkinson's disease.

Patients appeared to tolerate SLV308 well, although it did cause side effects such as nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, headache and weakness. The study was supported by the drug's maker, Solvay Pharmaceuticals.

In the second study, a patch delivery system for levodopa also appeared to ease motor problems in Parkinson's patients.

The study compared healthy volunteers on a levodopa patch against those taking carbidopa orally every eight hours over a 24-hour period. Those with the patch appeared to receive a more constant therapeutic delivery of medication.

"If levodopa can be administered in a way to bypass the gastrointestinal tract, which is responsible for the vagaries which complicate levodopa dosing in [Parkinson's] patients now, it would be an important step forward," Dr. John Nutt, of Oregon Health & Science University, said in a prepared statement. "Transdermal administration would produce more constant plasma levels than can be achieved with oral dosing, which should reduce motor fluctuations and possibly, dyskinesia."

The results of the studies were presented this week at the Movement Disorder Society's 12th International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement, in Chicago.

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We Move has more about Parkinson's disease.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: Movement Disorder Society, news release, June 24, 2008

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